Arsenal have announced the free transfer signing of Willian from Chelsea as Mikel Arteta strengthens his squad ahead of next season.
The Brazil international was one of the leading free agents of the summer market after leaving Chelsea at the expiry of his contract, the winger having enjoyed a trophy-laden seven-season spell at Stamford Bridge, winning two Premier League titles amongst his major honours.
Several clubs had expressed an interest in signing the 32-year-old including the likes of Barcelona and David Beckham’s MLS outfit, Inter Miami, but is Arsenal who have won the race to secure his signature with the player having spoken of his happiness with life in London and the Premier League.
Willian crosses the capital on a three-year contract and bolsters Arteta’s attacking options at the Emirates, with the Spaniard delighted to have sealed the signing of a proven Premier League performer.
“I believe he’s a player that can really make a difference for us,” Arteta told Arsenal Digital. “We have been monitoring him for the past few months, we had a clear intention to strengthen in the attacking midfielder and the winger positions [and] he is a player that gives us a lot of versatility, he can play in three or four different positions.
? "It is the character that I want. The kind of player that when things get difficult in the game that wants to take responsibility, wants the ball and wants to win the game for the team."
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 14, 2020
“As well he brings a lot of quality and something that we need, which is winners. He has the experience to win almost everything in the football world but still the ambition to come here and contribute to bring the club where it belongs.
“It is many of his qualities [that appeal]. One is his ability to play in those tight spaces, his ability to play people through, to unlock, to drive with the ball and create overloads, he is a goal threat as well both in open play and with set pieces.
“Again, it is the character that I want, the kind of player that when things get difficult in the game that wants to take responsibility, wants the ball and wants to win the game for the team and I think it is going to be a really good lift for all the players as well in terms of the quality we are bringing to the squad.”
Chelsea had offered Willian an extension but failed to match the player’s desire for a three-year deal, with Arsenal having matched those demands with the option for a fourth season.
The winger had impressed for Chelsea following the Premier League’s restart and made 47 appearances for the club in all competitions last season, scoring 11 goals and providing a further eight assists.